When you spend a large part of your life pursuing academic credentials and advancing in your profession, retirement becomes a duel-edged sword. Yes, it’s great to have the extra time to engage in personal interests, but there’s also an urge to stay connected to your professional activities. In fact, most professionals self-identify through their vocation and level of education. For example, many doctors continue to work, at least part-time, treating patients well into their 70’s and some even into their 80’s. So, it was understandable when I decided to retire many of my coworkers asked, “what do you plan to do?” as in “how do you plan to use all that education and experience if not in a professional capacity?”
Fortunately, I’d been teaching health care administration as an adjunct instructor at a local university and I planned to continue teaching after I retired from my full-time position working in mental health administration. And having co-authored a text book, the idea of writing another text tied to what I was teaching seemed like a good idea. I was never satisfied with the books I was using to teach a course in health care economics and finance; I probably used five or six different ones over the years and found almost all either too dry in presentation or difficult for students to comprehend. However, the motivation for writing a book about universal health care came from what I was learning from my students as much as from what they were learning from me.
Through our interactions it was evident that due to limited life experiences, other than what they read in their textbooks they didn’t have a good grasp of how the health care system works. And through interactions with people I knew and met, I found this was probably true of most Americans. Case in point, many Americans love Medicare, but don’t realize it’s a government program. And when I ask fellow seniors how Medicare works, most haven’t the slightest idea.
Americans have a similar problem with the concepts of universal health care and single-payer; they don’t know what the terms mean and depending on their political orientation may think it’s either a great or horrible idea. Worse, when I hear progressive politicians talk about Medicare-for-all, it is clear they like the idea, but lack the content knowledge and expertise to explain and defend it. Therefore, I knew if I was going to write about universal health care I would have to provide context and thus a major goal would be to educate as well as advocate.
Writing the book was arduous, challenging, and edifying. I thought I knew a lot about the subject and I did, but as a result of my research I also learned a lot more. I enjoyed the writing process, although like many writers there were times – days and weeks – when my fingers never touched the keyboard.
This year (2018) I finished the book minus revisions recommended by editors and reviewers. I am working toward publication in the first half of 2019 and so the challenge before me is to get the concepts presented in the book out to the public. Therefore, in part, I decided to use a blog as both a marketing tool and a way to share key ideas and concepts from the book. For example, The Case for Universal Health Care presents a very different approach for financing universal health care than the one advocated by Senator Bernie Sanders and supported by many progressive Democrats. Why the difference? First, Senator Sander’s Medicare-for-all plan is neither financially viable or politically feasible. Second, as I present in the book and will describe on this blog, my approach addresses and remedies many of the arguments conservatives put forth against universal health care. So, if you really wanna, oughta know if there is a workable solution to having universal health care in the U.S. you’ll really wanna, oughta read the book and stay with this blog.
I also decided to write this blog because there is too much misinformation about universal health care. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, health care was an important issue for voters in the runup to the 2018 midterm elections and was the most important issue for one in four voters polled. Consequently, many Democrats made access and affordability a major theme of their campaigns. Unfortunately, Democrats have not been as successful as they might be in laying the groundwork to educate voters, so when Trump wrote the following in a U.S. Today op-ed piece, most Americans lacked the context to realize replacing private health insurance for a less expensive government program is actually a good thing:
“Throughout the year, we have seen Democrats across the country uniting around a new legislative proposal that would end Medicare as we know it and take away benefits that seniors have paid for their entire lives. Dishonestly called “Medicare for All,” the Democratic proposal would establish a government-run, single-payer health care system that eliminates all private and employer-based health care plans and would cost an astonishing $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years.”
Trump’s correct. The approach I’ve advocated in the book and will explain on this blog does end Medicare as we know it. And it does establish a government-run single payer health care system that will eliminate private and employer-based health care plans. But that’s a good thing as it will lower the cost of health care while also assuring all Americans have access to health care. As you would expect, his $32.6 number is incorrect, and I’ll explain why in another article.
Thus, I want to use this blog to respond to and correct purposeful misrepresentation of information about health policy, particularly as it relates to universal health care. I’m hoping that when misinformation is disseminated I can be a resource to correct and clarify, so supporters of universal health care can respond with more accurate information.
Finally, I was apprehensive about creating a blog, because let’s face it, our social media is saturated with them. However, a Google search indicated there aren’t many that address this topic and there is certainly room for one that can educate and advocate for this important subject. That said, I hope you find this blog and the information it contains useful. Please share the link with others. Feedback is welcome and appreciated.
 https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/10/10/donald-trump-democrats-open-borders-medicare-all-single-payer-column/1560533002/ I’ll explain where the $32.6 trillion number came from in an upcoming blog.